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Monday, April 22, 2024
Drooling dog inspires NOTL author’s children’s book series

An excessive amount of dog drool was the inspiration for a Niagara-on-the-Lake woman's new children's book series.

Sir Archibald Droolsalot: Big Dog Blues” immortalizes Kathryn Recourt's large, loyal (and drooling) companion Archie, the part English mastiff, part St. Bernard rescue dog.

Recourt says her young grandchildren, Grayson and Rachel, wanted to know why Archie drooled so much.

“I thought, 'There's got to be a good reason that we can come up with. And they can be quite relentless, so I had better give them a good answer,' ” she says.

She loved reading to her own children, Daniel and Victoria, when they were young. She says she would often make up stories for them and she has continued that tradition with her grandchildren.

So, she started telling her grandchildren stories about about Archie, how he became a knight and how he drooled – a lot.

Then, during the COVID quarantine, she says she began typing the stories out and very quickly weaved them into a publishable children’s book. She contacted TellWell, a Canadian self-publishing company, and was “very pleased” with the process of bringing her ideas to fruition.

She wrote the story but outsourced the illustrations to a couple from Barrie, because “I can’t draw to save my life,” she says. Allan Cormack and Deborah Drew-Brook are working on the art for the next book as well.

“Obviously, the biggest thing is finding your Illustrator … and they just got what I wanted. When I look at the book and I see their drawings I'm just so thrilled because it's exactly how I saw it in my head,” she says.

The first book was published on Sept. 9 and focuses on issues of bullying. She says she felt it was appropriate, especially with children going back to school, to talk about bullying in a relaxed environment. (Book two is almost complete and she's almost finished writing the third instalment, “some advantages to the lockdown,” she says.)

“I just thought, with telling the story through the dog’s viewpoint, it makes it easier for kids to fully empathize with the dog. It is a gentler way of introducing the subject. When I sit down with the kids and I read, they’re snuggled up and you're in a lovely, warm, safe environment,” she says.

“It's a nice atmosphere and perhaps the dogs would help kids to understand that there are different ways of going about things.”

She says the second book is in the editing process and will be published as soon as it’s ready. She says she has several more stories in the works, so she anticipates the series to grow.

In each story, new characters are introduced, which she says have all been modelled on dogs she has known.

“So, I tried to bring in familiar things to me, I suppose, and to the kids. I've had such a lovely response to everyone who has got the book,” Recourt says.

Her book can be found at the Old Niagara Bookshop on Regent Street in Old Town, the only “bricks and mortar” location selling it right now.

“One of the first things I did was I went to see Laura McFadden at the Old Niagara Bookshop. She is such a sweet lady and she's got my books in the store,” she says.

As well, Recourt has partnered with the Lincoln County Humane Society and for every book sold through its social media and contacts, or through the Hotel & Spa 124 on Queen Street in NOTL, she is donating  a portion of the proceeds to the humane society. The spa has books on-site.

Otherwise, a copy of the book can be purchased online. Check out her website at kathrynrecourt.com for links to online retailers and updates of upcoming releases.

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